2nd Top Q: “Is It Unfair To Call All Religions ‘Scams’?”

According to the Friendly Atheist, American Atheists are running the ad below in Huntsville, Alabama:

Is it fair to call all churches scams?  Obviously there are at least some quite sincere believers.  Do all perpetuations of falsehoods and false promises for profit (of various forms) count as scams?  Or are the only scams those which are perpetuated deliberately as lies?  Or scams only those which aim at, or are indifferent to, the harmful exploitation of those they duped by the lies and false promises?  If a religion begins as a deliberate scam does it stop being one when a generation or two later it is filled with true believers who no longer even know that it started as a scam?  Can a scam go legit simply by dint of the gullible later generation leaders’ sincerity?

So, is it telling a lie if you don’t know it is a lie?  Is it a scam if it fills certain criteria of falsehood or does it require deliberate malice?

In short, today’s open philosophical question is, “Is it unfair to call all religions ‘scams’?”

Should atheists disown this American Atheists campaign in Alabama?

If you would still like to address the first, and inaugural, TOP Q it is: “How, If At All, Can People’s Claims To Simply Intuit That There Is A God Be Rationally Refuted Or Supported?”

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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